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II.

Biodiversity The Problems

Copyright Richard S. Feldman, Ph.D.

Extinction
Natural and ongoing
Fossil record
Background rates
1 terrestrial vertebrate species per century
Local regionalnationalglobal

So why be concerned?

Concept:
The loss of biodiversity is widespread
and accelerating
multiple causes
dire consequences

Endangered and threatened species

a wide
range of
taxa

Decreases "in biodiversity due to human


activities were more rapid in the past 50 years
than at any time in human history"
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005

Worldwide threats with extinction


among vertebrates:
12% of bird species
21% of fish species
26% of mammals*
50% of primates

> 33% of amphibians


25-45,000 times the background extinction rate
(Center for Biological Diversity, 2015
* IUCN Red List, 2015)

Red List Index for bird species in biogeographic regions

(Birdlife, 2007)

www.ec.gc.ca

Mammals threatened with extinction

http://www.sciencealert.com/this-map-shows-wherethe-most-threatened-mammals-are-in-the-world

April 2015; data from IUCN Red List


and the World Bank

Native species extinctions in the U.S.


Presumed extinct: loss of last known individuals is documented;
possibly extinct: no recent documentation of existence.(Stein et al.)

Percent of species at risk of extinction.


Includes critically imperiled, imperiled & vulnerable species
From: Stein et al.

Multiple causes

1. Habitat Loss
Concept:
As species lose their habitats, their chances of
survival in the wild are greatly reduced.

nksandeep.wordpress.com

http://lal.cas.psu.edu/Research/Images/sprawlComp.jpg

Terrestrial:
conversion of vast areas of forest,
grass and shrub lands, and wetlands
for agriculture and urbanization
Freshwater:
extensive alterations of rivers,
streams and lakes; wetlands
drained and filled

Loss of tropical rainforests

estimated
original

2010

Amazon tropical rain forest


~20% cut

Amazon

http://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon_destruction.html

roads are the critical catalyst for


deforestation

http://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon_destruction.html

Primary causes of Amazon


deforestation
1. relocation of urban population
2. government control almost nonexistent
3. cleared areas often productive for only a
year or two (related to TRF paradox)
4. soybean exports
5. cattle ranches (Fig. 6.17).

Fig. 6.17. Increase in gross deforestation (1990-2001) and cattle herd size
(1990-2002) in the Amazon. Each point represents a Brazilian state.

Amazon cattle
large export market of inexpensive beef
powerful sector in Brazil
overrides efforts to reduce deforestation.
improvements during 2005-2009, led by former
Pres. da Silva,
cutting limits on farms, enforcement improved

however, counterbalanced by recent influx of


small landowners slash & burn

Regional US example:
Karner blue butterfly
Federally & NYS listed endangered species

prairieecosystems.pbwiki.com/Endangered+Karne...

Karner blue
original range - Maine to Minnesota
Specializes feeding upon lupine
Fire-dependent plant species
(www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/petersburg/images/lupine.jpg)

NY: one population in Albany Pine Bush


10,000 ha reduced to 1000 ha
sprawl - cities and suburbs spreading outward

2. Species Invasions
Concept:
Species not native to an area can suppress or
eliminate native species decreased
biodiversity.

kudzu
: charmeck.org/stormwater/PollutionPrevention/Pages/InvasivePlants.aspx

mongoose
myanimalblog.wordpress.com/.../yellow-mongoose/

Introduced species, non-native,


aliens, and exotics
Synonymous terms
Species that arrived recently

U.S. ~ 50,000 alien species


costs $137 billon annually from damage,
losses and control of them.

Subcategory:
highly invasive species
well-adapted to the physical conditions
increase rapidly over time and space
exclude many native species from their
habitats, via:

competition
predation
herbivory
infection & parasitism

Japanese knotweed in Fern Tor,


Marist College

Intentional introductions
examples?

Gardening/landscaping
Farming
Pest control
Forestry
Aquaculture

Accidental introductions how?


more movement of people and goods
between biomes and countries
crates
soil
ballast water

Zebra mussels
present in
Hudson River
and other NY
freshwaters

Z. mussels
adults grow on any hard surface
man-made
natural including on other species

loss of food and habitat for other species


native mussels threatened

~$100 million damage/yr related to control.

Nile perch in Lake Victoria, Africa


intentional introductions
voracious predators
eliminated much of the incredible diversity
in 30 years
vs. ~750,000 years to evolve

www.african-angler.co.uk/fishing.html

Hawaii's native birds


1893 102 native endemic species
now - 71 extinct, 31 endangered
Evolved without any mammalian predators
Polynesian and European spp introduced
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLarD5vhd
Kk

Forest pests
Asian long-horned beetle
Emerald ash borer

3. Climate Change
Concept:
Species evolved under particular climates,
therefore as climate changes more rapidly
than they can evolve, it poses a threat to
their existence.

Past rapid climate change


Associated with three mass extinctions in
fossil record
Dinosaurs
Cretaceous 65 mya
Triassic 200 mya
Permian 250 mya

Common effects of present


increasing temperature
Expanded or shifted geographic ranges
mammal, bird and insect species extending
toward the poles and up mountains
grizzlies, pika

earlier spring events for birds, insects &


plants
migrations, hatchings and seed germination

disconnection of ecological relationships


winter moth caterpillars & English oak

Rising winter & night-time


temperatures
Increased survival of forest insect pests and
tree pathogens

Mountain pine beetle damage in


Rocky Mountains

hflp.sdstate.edu/Pestalrt/alert805.htm

concerns?

www.fs.fed.us/.../whitebark_pine/assessment.htm

Eastern hemlock wooly adelgid

www.flickr.com/photos/greendestiny/177374293/

http://na.fs.fed.us/fhp/hwa/

www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/images/hemlockadelgidRAC.jpg

http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/

Changing precipitation patterns


Costa Rica's
Monteverde Cloud
Forest Preserve
Golden toad
(footage)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/328776.stm

Presumed extinct

4. Overexploitation
Concept:
If individuals of a species are harvested more
quickly than they reproduce and grow, then
their populations will be suppressed or even
eliminated.

Most conspicuous examples


terrestrial vertebrates
Birds: dodo, passenger pigeon

Mammals: primates, big cats, wolves,


bears, rhinos, elephants
Why?

Marine examples
Mammals whales
Fish - cod, tuna, swordfish, shark
Northern bluefin tuna
http://www.worldwildlife.org/photos/northern-bluefin-tuna--2

onemoregeneration.org
http://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_this_morning/video/bA3DOReFqaMRG
mq4JZgXOpgX2BvWTtM2/-world-s-best-sushi-chef-gives-direwarning/

Bycatch
reptiles (sea turtles)
fish (sawfish)
mammals (dolphins)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=PyGHk6zIL-Y

5. Pollution
Concept:
When habitat for a species is contaminated,
the species may suffer reduced reproduction
and growth, threatening its survival.

Pollutant types
Excess nutrients eutrophication
Sequence leads to oxygen depletion in waters
Ultimately dead zones & fish kills

www.ecology.comwww.sudburyvalleytrustees.org-

Pollutant types
Industrial chemicals & pesticides
DDT
previously threatened American bald eagle

and related chemicals endocrine disruptors


Florida panther

www.zmescience.com

Distilling down the threats to


biodiversity

The cost of doing business


Massive cost externalization
Does not have to be like that options?
Sustainable development